Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"We won Paul in a raffle"

Yesterday was supposed to be grab-a-quote day with the Aussie players. This is where journalists fight for final player comments to put in the bank, before the cricket starts in earnest on Wednesday night (GMT).

And with two days to go, I can't find anything of interest from both sets of squads. The tour games have been played, the squads are going through their final preparations and it is just a case of getting that first ball bowled for the thousands of excited cricket fans.

What I did find from the Aussie and English media: the phenomenal rise of Michael Hussey from The Age and David Llloyd, the newly-crowned fans' favourite behind the microphone. Meanwhile, fellow Lancastrian Tom Smith will be at the national academy this winter and hopes his 21st birthday at the MCG is a memorable one.

However, the best of the bunch has to lie with the Guardian's piece on current English players who have played Aussie club cricket. Paul Collingwood and Ed Joyce are two who are featured, both having played in Melbourne and Perth respectively. Former team-mates say they conquered the Aussie pitches, while it seems Melbourne were thankful for Collingwood's services after he was plucked from a hat to join them. After two weeks Down Under the table has turned for the English duo and what are the chances both could feature heavily this winter?

**Get in line for the first ball with Nutley's Ashes guide to catching all the action.